Playa Dominical by Jon Pietras
It wasn´t a it was any colony in hell. No one was being tortured exactly although waiting hours for broken down, overcrowded buses in tropical heat comes close. Vendors hawking their wares, families waiting for transportation, babies in carriages, tourists looking exhausted and sweating profusely and taxi drivers repeatedly asking you if you want to go to Dominical for $40 when the bus trip costs $3.50. Finally the bus arrives and you quickly join the line only to have many locals who feel they are too good to follow ordinary rules of etiquette crash the line in front of you. Eventually you board and find the very last seat available since so many are reserved for friends who have yet to board. The seats are 5 abroad with 3 on your side and 2 on the other. The isles are full of SRO customers. After two hours of dusty, bumpy riding on unpaved roads which remind you of a westwardly journey in a covered wagon in a wagon train you finally arrive at Dominical. It is all worth it as the is beautiful and you share it with a few surfers and a handful of tourists who like you have braved the journey through purgatory to reach Nirvana! You are greeted by an absolutely beautiful southern Pacific sunset which rivals any tourism poster anywhere. As if a reward for your perseverance you get the very last room at the local inn for $25 and settle in for what should be a week of relaxing pleasure that seems long overdue. Did I mention that you are overdue for that massage and there is a great one available on the beach.
Four young surfers sit on logs of driftwood surrounded by their boards listening to guitar music played by their shirtless entertainer wearing a light gray fedora which looks both appropriate and strange. Long shadows climb over them as the Pacific sun sets in the west over the crashing ocean. Coins of golden sunlight scatter about and then gather together to form the shimmering waterfall which is the reflection of our life giving orb in the ever moving sea. Silhouettes of youth crisscross our scene providing shadowbox images in the sunset. All about sit surfers and surferettes with and without boards enjoying that moment when twilight chases away the last visages of today. Surf dogs bark and speak to each other as if to say that another day is finishing and the night will surely come. The closer the sun gets to it's rendezvous with the horizon the more the people come to watch as if drawn by some age old magnetism which pulls inexorably upon the loadstones of their bodies. I too am compelled by some hidden planet exercising it's cross it's face allowing just enough of a veil that you can look directly into the glow without squinting. Golden reds are appearing and purples mixed with hues of blue. The clouds now make Sol appear like with it's lines of planetary color. Half an inch left, sinking fast, steam seems to evaporate from the water. Touching now and the ball is brilliant orange and flat on the bottom. The high clouds have a golden orange underbelly. Half a globe now and the sky is royal purple at the the waters edge. Just a sliver, now the heavenly furnace is gone. A halo seems to shine where our mighty star once was. A purple glow is all that remains of this sunset as waves of white froth thunder ashore. The clouds are now on fire from the bottom up. The magnetism has faded and the onlookers file out from this earthly amphitheater. Twilight pulls night's cloak over the scene as the curtain falls on our celestial performance.
Three o'clock and the bar is almost full. Ah, happy hour is four till six which explains a lot. The tide is in and some surfers are slowly departing waiting for their next date with the moon's gravitational pull. Groups and couples are forming at the concrete tables just outside the restaurant where the palms and coco bola trees shade them from the otherwise relentless rays of the tropical fireball. Still high in the heavens old Sol has only just started his decent towards his rendezvous on the horizon with the ocean. At the table sits a young surfer with curly chestnut brown hair and full beard who could double for an Arab terrorist were it not for his full body tan, flip flops and baggy knee length shorts in a coffee and cream geometric design with Harley down the side. He drinks from a color matching amber bottle of Imperial beer as he chats Spanish with two chicas. The young blond across from him at the table has her hair off her shoulders in a tight bun to help cool her smooth, slightly rounded shoulders. She uses the chair as a platform rather than a seat alternating between lotus position and one which allows her to groom her toes while she finishes her cigarette and twists the loose strands of hair on the side of her head. She has that pretty little girl look that both drives men mad and makes you wonder what she would have looked like had her features ever matured. Between them sits a thirty something woman in sarong covered bikini and gold flips, one on and one off her foot. She sips from a glass of H2O lemon drink which she occasionally refills from the bottle in front of her. She is the only one of the three wearing sunglasses which match her whiskey brown hair with slight hints of Merlot. Her face reminds you of a female and she gives the air of someone at home on the rock and roll stage. It is obvious by the number of residents young and old who stop by to say "Hola" that they are all three regulars at the restaurant and far from tourists. on my soul. Now the golden hues begin to melt into sunset colors on God's pallet against the azure backdrop of the fading day. Wisps of clouds dot the now molten sky as the sun dips lower and it's first rays seem to touch the ocean. Inches to go and the orb seems to speed up in it's decent.
At the bar a twenty something surfer with shoulder length dirty blond hair chats with a friend on the stool next to him. Besides being handsome his most striking feature is the turtle tattoo which covers slightly more than half his back. The turtles head and all four flippers are well done in navy blue ink but the body has been replaced by the shape of a heart barely outlined but easily understood to mean that he loves turtles. Shirtless he wears surfer shorts in a vibrant light and dark blue leaf pattern which go well with his navy and grey athletic shoes. His friend looks out of place in blue jeans, black T-shirt and chocolate shoes. His bleached blond almost white hair is cut quarter inch short on the sides and long on top giving him the appearance of a sheep who has escaped his shearing when only the sides were finished. He sports black rimmed glasses to round out his "look".
In the distance, thirty of forty surfers floating, bobbing, waiting, hoping, daring the waves to provide that one moment with the power to catapult them and their boards into a timeless voyage where the stars are beacons along the way and eternity the final destination. Where are you O wave of wonder? Why are you so elusive? Should I ever catch that ride it would be my last in this world, yet t'would be but an initiation in the next.
Coconuts and Seagulls
Jonathan Livingstone Seagull glides low over the ocean´s edge drifting on thermals and transferring the energy of the wind, now present in the form of the wave breaking against the coast, into a whip-like boost to his flight pattern. He is surfing the wave the same as a surfer uses the power of the wave to push his speed well beyond his ability to paddle. The scene feels timeless like nothing else can possibly be happening anywhere. The surfers bob like corks in the rising tide awaiting their ride to the shore. Again and again they assault the beach returning to their ports to await another chance for the one wave which goes on for eternity. This forever wave is just a short distance out at sea and will surly come in with the next set. A warm tropical breeze drifts in from the sea and washes away what heat has settled on those who sit under coconut trees or on brightly colored beach towels. Surfing was once the domain of men of muscle when the boards were made of wood and eight feet long. Now lithe wisps of feminine pulchritude take to lightweight fiberglass covered Styrofoam boards and demonstrate their agile ability to master the ripples of Poseidon. You go girl. Women´s lib has come of age.
Underneath the palm trees, looking into their uplifted branches as sea gulls lazily glide overhead in their V formation, my thoughts are drawn to wondering if a person could survive on coconuts like Tom Hanks in that movie about the Fed Ex pilot. Was his name Wilson or was that his friend? You could always get a bamboo pole and catch seafood at low tide or trap crabs and clams or other shellfish. Probably some of these other fruits are edible if you could figure out which ones before you poisoned yourself. A guy could get used to sitting in the shade while the gentle warm easterly breeze fans your shirtless body and watching beautiful sun worshipers a third of your age and with next to nothing on. About the only worry you would have is sunburn, blowing out your flip-flops on a pop-top like Jimmy Buffet says, and having to occasionally find shelter from the rain. You could draw a little, write a little , make love a little and otherwise fulfill your destiny until you were invited to the Big Luau in the Sky. The waves seem to be whispering, ¨Juanito, Juanito, stay forever, Juanito¨. --- This is the last as I must ride the bus home tomorrow but I will be going through San Isidro and not back to Manuel Antonio on those dusty roads. -Jon-